Friday, February 27, 2015

Try It: Soft Boiled Eggs + Toast Soldiers

When things get tough (see my last post), I find myself gravitating toward comfort food. And soft boiled eggs + toast soldiers are one of my favorite things to eat! My aunt used to eat these all the time, which is where I think my love for these originated. As a bonus, you get to eat them in a fun egg cup!! If you don't know how to make them, here's a quick little video (that I didn't create, but is the recipe I use) to help!

Quick, simple, yummy, and endlessly comforting! And you can find some lovely egg cups on Etsy or at vintage stores! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

An Emotional Week

If you're friends with me IRL, or follow me on Instagram, then you know that a week ago today, Otto was diagnosed with a huge tumor on his spine that was pressing down on his spinal cord. What you may not know is how quickly we got to this point. Exactly 4 weeks ago, Otto came in the house and I noticed that the entire back half of his body was trembling. I turned on the fireplace, but a half hour later, he was still shaking.

We took him to Tremont Animal Clinic the next day, and we started treating Otto for what we believed (and hoped) was a strained back. Failing to respond to meds, he was back a week later to start on steroids. Sadly that didn't work either, and along with our vets, we made the decision to go see a neurologist at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital. A few hours and an MRI later--we had a diagnosis. A huge tumor on his spine.

Nick and I made the decision to schedule surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible the following Monday. We carefully considered the risks of surgery (paralysis or even death) and then began one of the hardest weekends of our lives. We started to tell friends and family, and the response from everyone was so overwhelming (in a wonderful way). Say what you will about social media, but I cannot even begin to describe what it meant to hear from people that I haven't heard from for a long time. We spoiled Otto rotten, did lots of fun things together, and his favorite people came to visit.

Everything seemed to be going well, and then suddenly on Sunday, Otto couldn't sit or stand. We rushed him down to the ER, where they amped up his pain meds and kept him overnight. To say we were distraught would be an understatement. Even poor Clair was upset-- walking around the house looking for Otto.

Surgery happened on Monday, and then things really started to look up. Not only did the surgery go well, but Otto got to come home on Tuesday, a whole day ahead of schedule! 

As of this writing, he's been home a full two days, and he's doing SO well! He definitely feels more comfortable-- he's supposed to be on bed rest, but he keeps wanting to walk around and play-- I've had to resort to bribing him with treats to lay down!  I'm convinced that it was everyone's thoughts, prayers and energy that are causing his recovery. 

We are still waiting on the results of the biopsy-- I suppose we could have a miracle and it may not be confirmed cancer, but even I am not that optimistic. What I am optimistic about is that Otto is a strong pup, and that the cancer is slow growing (fingers crossed), and that Nick and I (and Clair) are going to make amazing memories with him, for as long as that may be. We are starting a new journey together, and we will carry each other through it. In the mean time, Otto is being Otto-- barking at unauthorized people (the mailman, UPS lady), showing an excessive interest in our food, trying to sneak in licking the dishes as we load the dishwasher -- being the big goofball we know and love. 

So in closing, I just want to thank you for all your love, support and wishes over the past week. I will certainly continue to update you on Otto's condition via social media and you will probably see a few more posts about Otto on this blog. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Try It: Steamed Artichoke

I had no idea that I like steamed artichoke until I ate my first one at L'Albatros a few weeks ago, and subsequently couldn't stop thinking of it. Problem is, I was terrified of cooking artichokes, until I watched this video:

Its easier than you think!!! I steamed an artichoke earlier this week (and ate the whole thing), and it was absolutely delicious. You could make your own lemon aioli, or you can go the super lazy route and just buy Annie's Lemon & Chive Vinaigrette. Either way, super easy, mostly healthy, and super delicious. Don't forget to squeeze some lemon over the artichoke before you eat it!

Happy eating!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

CLE Eats: Local West

Earlier this week, Nick and I stopped in to check out the Detroit Shoreway's newest addition: Local West. Open just a few days, Local West is so brand spankin' new that it doesn't even have a website yet, but they do have a nice selection of sandwiches.

The old space was a Greek fast-food type restaurant, complete with drive-through. The owners of Local West have transformed the space-- it doesn't even look like it was ever a drive-through type restaurant! Lots of wood and aluminum lend the space a modern feel. There are a few private tables, and one long communal table at the center.

The menu is displayed on the wall (and yes, they offer wine and beer), you order at the counter, and they call your name when your sandwich is ready.

There are about 11 burgers on the menu (cooked to order), 7 sandwich options, and then some chicken options as well as some signature dishes, salads and pita pizzas, and a nice selection of sides. If you're vegetarian, your options include the portabello mushroom sandwich, grilled cheese, the salads, 2 pita pizza options, and perhaps even the portobello burger (although I'm not sure if its meat + portobello? I didn't ask). Pescatarians, you also have the option of a salmon BLT and the signature octopus dish.

Nick and I tried The Roman, and while it took a little bit of time to come out (growing pains-- remember they haven't even been open a week yet!), the sandwich was delicious.

Given the selection and quality of the food, and close proximity to our home, I can see this turning into quite the regular spot for us!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter Skin Survival

A few years ago, I did a little feature on beauty tips on Fox 8.

But since that was over a year ago, I feel like I'm due for an update. Here's what I'm using the winter to keep my skin soft and hydrated:

From left to right:
Julep Mint Condition pedi creme: I walk around barefoot. Which is so terrible in the winter, but its what I do. This smells delightful, and works wonderfully for daily wear. I usually put it on before bed and before workouts-- I once read that the heat from a workout helps the lotion get absorbed into your feet. I'm not sure its actually true, but it certainly doesn't hurt! *cruelty free
Lush Sympathy for The Skin: I do not say this lightly-- this is THE BEST body lotion ever. It smells like vanilla (you can see the flecks) and dessert, and it leaves your skin ridiculously soft. I've even gotten comments on how soft my skin feels. Even better: this product is vegan and not tested on animals! *cruelty free
Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint: This stuff spells sweet relief for my dry lips, and enhances the natural color of my lips. It looks different on every person, adapting to your own lip color. *animal testing language vague.
Swell Skin Miraculous Multi-tasker: This sea buckthorn oil is magical. Keeps my skin clear and hydrated, wrinkle-free, and also helps with accidental flat-iron burns. This smells a little "earthy" and is made locally, and is not tested on animals. *cruelty free

So there you have it-- my winter skin rescue arsenal. What are some of the beauty products that you're loving this season?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Listening Now: Sun Goes Down

I just keep reminding myself that it WILL eventually get warmer….

 In the meantime, here's something to mentally take you to warmer climes.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Friday Night Fave: Harness Cycle + Jukebox

This past Friday was Galentine's Day-- a day popularized by none other than Leslie Knope on Park and Recreation. As a Parks and Rec and general Amy Poehler fan, naturally I was game to get behind a Galentine's Day celebration, so when I received the email from Harness Cycle about their Galentine's ride-- my bike bestie Sara and I jumped at the chance. The studio was a sea of red and pink, girl power thick in the air.

After a sweaty 45 minutes, Sara and I headed over next door to JUKEBOX for some drinks and pierogies. We split the Mac-n-Cheese and vegan Buffalo chickpea pierogies, and we so blown away by the buffalo chickpea that we promptly ordered a second round! JUKEBOX is quickly becoming one of my favorite bars in Cleveland-- super low-key with the nicest people-- a true neighborhood bar, made even better when you're with people you love and enjoy!

Even though Galentine's Day only comes about once a year, Harness hosts a happy hour ride each Friday. I highly recommend spending a Friday evening with a friend (or significant other) riding bikes and getting drinks next door! Who knows, maybe I will even see you there!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cleveland Eats: Choolah

It is a well-know fact that I have impossibly high standards for Indian food. Having grown up in Mumbai, once gets used to a certain standard, and until lately, Cleveland has fallen woefully short. If the food is good, then the decor is awful (read: everything is covered in plastic), and if the decor is acceptable, then the food is all wrong.

I have 2 basic standards of judgement*: chicken tikka and naan. Chicken tikka should be juicy, served simply on a plate, with a size of green chutney, red onion and lime. Naan should be flaky, have air bubbles, and should be buttered at request so it comes out all glossy and buttery. If you've got these 2 pieces right, then you've got a great thing going. And at most places in Cleveland, at least one of two things go wrong.

I say this all as a preface to say that when I stepped into Choolah this past weekend, I had very low expectations. And I'm happy to say that I was blown away. Now, the thing about Choolah is that is focuses on Indian BBQ (in clay ovens called a tandoor), so its not a full Indian menu, but they do the tandoori food very well.

I ordered the Chicken tikka masala bowl-- the chicken tikka is served on a bed of rice, with the "masala" on the side. Also included is a side of green chutney, which is very nicely spiced but not spicy. I ordered a naan on the side as well as an order of samosas. I LOVED the chicken tikka - perfectly spiced (contrary to what you might think, tikka's are not really spicy) and juicy, and the masala sauce also had a really nice flavor and texture. The samosas were delicious and served with the same green chutney. I didn't ask for the hot sauce, but it is available on request if you want your food hotter. The only downside was the naan-- butter naan did not appear to be an option, and the naan was really close-- almost there. There was a difference in texture, but it might just be US flour vs. Indian flour. The decor was lovely and light and modern, and the 4 tandoors were up front and center so you could see exactly how your food was cooked!

Overall, a great experience, and one that I will certainly go back for! My only request is that they open a second west-side location because I'm about 45 minutes away, and when an Indian girl needs a fix of Indian food, she needs it to be closer!!! So all you east-siders, I'm officially jealous!!!

P.S. Please bring me some Choolah. Please?!

*Note that this standard only applies to northern Indian food-- I have different standard for South Indian food which I will get to at another time.